DETAIL : 
Martin Johnson HEADE  
United States of America 1819 � 1904-09-04  
Sunlight and shadow: the Newbury Marshes c.1871-75, oil on canvas National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. John Wilmerding Collection (Promised Gift). Image courtesy of the Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
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EXHIBITION GROUPING : GALLERY 1 | GALLERY 2 | GALLERY 3 | GALLERY 4 | GALLERY 5 | GALLERY 6 |

Gallery 6:

By the end of the century, landscape became a vehicle for personal expression and aesthetic theories. Works by Post-Impressionist painters such as Gauguin and Van Gogh no longer simply tell stories. Nor do they represent known places. Instead, these revolutionary artists fractured the landscape pictorially or optically, or sometimes both. They absorbed wide-ranging influences, including the radical flattening of Japanese prints, to produce paintings dominated by patterning and dramatically simplified colour.

Artists also simplified the implied three-dimensional space of landscape painting. In his magnificent Morning haze, Monet combined the reflective surfaces and heavy atmosphere of snow, ice and water to transform reality into a world of paint. In Forest scene (Path from Mas Jolie to Château Noir) Cézanne dissolved nature’s forms, rearranging them as a dense patchwork of greens and blues. Symbolists represent a reality beyond the material. Toorop painted The sea as a network of coloured stripes, made of dots, which seem to become a veil. In Camaret, moonlight and fishing boats Luce made darkness visible using small straight strokes of opposing colours.

Landscape painting was transformed in the nineteenth-century from traditional depictions of place to novel experiments with colour and form. As the twentieth-century began, art was the subject, rather than nature. In Waterlilies Monet continued his earlier investigations of painting. The image is ambiguous but, as modern viewers, we accept doubt more easily as we pursue a new kind of beauty.